|We used to buy goods and services in
person. We'd introduce ourselves, look each other in
the eye, and negotiate the terms of the transaction.
If we thought it was a good deal, we'd seal it with a
handshake. That handshake was more than a kind gesture
– it signaled that if any problem arose, both sides were
committed to getting it resolved quickly and fairly.
That handshake was our personal trustmark.
Nowadays, it’s harder to close deals with a handshake.
We can buy items from all over the world with just a few
swipes on our iPhones, but when problems arise (as they
inevitably do) the next step is often unclear. On the
internet it is difficult, if not impossible, to tell the
good merchants from the bad merchants, and the processes for
resolving disputes are often confusing or hard to
find. Customer service can feel like a runaround (e.g.
long hold times, unfair refund policies) and formal redress
mechanisms that work in the face-to-face world, like the
courts, are generally impractical for online purchases --
especially when purchases are low value and cross several
The New Handshake: Online Dispute Resolution and the Future
of Consumer Protection focuses on this lack of trust and
access to remedies for online transactions. This
groundbreaking book proposes a design for a “New Handshake”
for the online world. This New Handshake uses Online
Dispute Resolution (ODR) to provide fast and fair
resolutions for low-dollar claims, such as those in most B2C
(Business-to-Consumer) contexts. This revolutionary
system is designed to operate independently of the courts,
thereby eliminating procedural complexities and choice of
law concerns. Furthermore, it can be integrated
directly into the websites where transactions take place. It
would provide consumers with free access to remedies, while
saving businesses from costs and complexities of
court. The New Handshake aims to rebuild trust in the
B2C marketplace, and provide a blueprint for the future of
online consumer protection.
This is not your typical “law” or “business” book.
Instead, is a collaborative effort of a business leader and
a law professor. The result is essential reading
The New Handshake can be purchased on the ABA website here:
- Online merchants
- Payment providers
- Customer services
- Law and business students
- Consumer advocates
- Policy makers
- ODR systems designers